Scientists at the University of Washington have been working on the creation of a contact lens that will allow users to experience augmented reality – without having to hold their smartphones up to their eyes. Currently, the lens can simulate the 3D glasses provided at movie theaters for viewing 3D films. An LED grid is built into the lens to create the 3D effect directly on the user’s point of vision.
Lead developer Babak Parviz says of the new technology: “With more colors and resolution, the repertoire could be expanded to include displaying text, translating speech into captions in real time, or offering visual cues from a navigation system. With basic image processing and Internet access, a contact-lens display could unlock whole new worlds of visual information, unfettered by the constraints of a physical display.” Perhaps more impressively, Babak Parviz has recently created a lens that monitors glucose levels, offering diabetes patients a simple way to keep an eye on their blood sugar without all those annoying pinpricks.
The lens continually transmits data to a wireless, wearable device the patient can use to track changes in glucose levels and other data. To read the back story on the augmented reality contact lenses and to see some pretty cool photos of the prototypes, check out this article from Babak Parviz himself.